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Product listing ads have big potential for reaching mobile shoppers

August 12, 2014


PLAs are becoming a hot topic surrounding mobile shopping

PHILADELPHIA – Google Shopping was cited by several execuives at eTail East 2014 as a big opportunity for retailers to connect with mobile shoppers using mobile Product Listing Ads.

During a panel discussion on “Building an effective PLA campaign,” members stressed that the mobile PLA unit on Google can help shoppers more easily browse and discover products on their mobile device. Users can swipe to quickly see more products in the mobile PLA unit without having to leave the search results page.

“Using mobile with PLA is the new trend,” said Andy Schepper, vice president of ecommerce for Summit Sports.

“PLA can be used other than Google Shopping, and in the future will feed itself and be used for so many other things such as display and  targeting.”

Enhanced campaigns
The PLA unit features larger product images and product titles. This gives more retailers the opportunity to appear on the mobile PLA unit, and tests have shown that it drives more traffic to retailers.

A large part of Google’s motivation with Enhanced Campaigns is aimed towards driving mobile advertising as an option. As customers make the shift to searching more on mobile devices, advertisers are not always opting in at the same rate.

Google has recently provided new ad opportunities to better support mobile campaigns and simplify the management. To target each device separately between mobile, desktop and tablet, triples a keyword set and campaign management. While this more complex account is challenge for some advertisers, it is a way for mobile to simplify the process.

Web search via mobile

Shopping search via mobile

Enhanced campaigns refer to the tools for a multi device world, which aims to serve ads to the right users at the right place at the right time on the right device. So instead of breaking out mobile or specific targets in a separate campaign, it all exists in one campaign with a bid adjustment at the campaign level. These bid multipliers work in conjunction with ad scheduling bid strategies already in place.

The only way to opt out of mobile is to set this multiplier to 100 percent. There is no option to control or bid against tablet users specifically. Tablets and desktops are now being considered as the same bid value.

Further, Google’s Ads for Context add more granular control for site link at the Adword level, and they also arming advertisers with more specific data for each site link instead of the lump group performance. Site links in ads can be also marked as mobile preferred. This indicates to Google that the ad or site link that should receive greater importance when the user is on a mobile device.

Retailer success
Many advertisers have already positioned themselves for success by leveraging mobile PLAs.

For example, understands that their customers are very mobile-savvy, so they increased their focus on optimizing their mobile PLA campaign. Within a few months, they grew their mobile PLA campaign clicks by 371 percent, their conversions climbed 537 percent, and their mobile return on ad spend (ROAS) increased by 77 percent. implemented mobile PLAs for their entire product line after seeing major lifts in their online advertising efforts via desktop PLA campaigns. Mobile PLAs are now a major driver of their overall mobile growth, delivering a 31 percent lift in overall mobile conversions. In addition, they focused heavily on converting new mobile traffic by redesigning their mobile site to increase the speed and overall usability of product pages and navigation.

Businesses who opt their PLA campaigns into mobile can capture valuable real estate on mobile shopping search results.

“Google’s target is to get into this game and be a dominant force,” said Richard Park, PLA/feed manager, Coffee For Less.

“After I check my Amazon Prime prim I check Google shopping and that didn’t use to be the case; I think it is going to be very big.”

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Michelle Saettler is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach her at

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